I just gave someone pinpoint and accurate directions to 33rd Avenue in Astoria, the little sidestreet even native Astorians do not think exists. I have, in the past, given inaccurate directions to that street, even though I pass it very frequently. But it is, even on repeated exposure, not a street to take note of.
It was interesting how the woman who asked seemed to prefer getting the directions from the first person she asked, who thought Broadway would be 33rd Avenue. She never asked me directly but it was not inappropriate for me to butt in and correct him. It was a friendly little convening of strangers. I think she asked him first because he was a little closer to her than I. But it’s not so much that she asked him first but that she seemed unwilling to take the directions directly from me, even though I was right and he was wrong. I don’t think it was racial. He and I are both white, she is black. But sometimes I see this in other contexts, where people initiate a three-way conversation but cannot allow themselves to let the third person in. A T-Mobile sales guy was extremely irritating to me in this way. I entered the store and talked to the first person there. She did not have any answers for whatever the problem was (I don’t remember) so she bounced it off a dude who seemed to be the manager. He knew what he was talking about but he would not and seemingly could not bring himself to address me directly. Every question he had, every reply he made went through that first person I talked to upon entering, even though I was standing RIGHT FUCKING THERE.
I’ve been guilty of this myself. Maybe there’s a name for this interpersonal phenomenon. It’s not exactly ghosting, since we are all strangers to each other, but it’s a similar vintage behavior.
I spent last night mining one of the old boxes from storage, and scanning what I’m presently calling The Lost Receipts, as if gaps in my collection of scanned receipts have rivaled the missing 13 minutes of audio on one of the Nixon tapes. Even if the task has less value or meaning than it ever did I still find it satisfying to get as much evidence possible of my time on earth digitized and made available for public scrutiny.
The real finds so far include a money order receipt for a payment I made to the company whose voicemail systems I breached and got caught. That’s at the heart of The Case, and I’d been hoping to find more real evidence that it all actually happened. So that’s a win. I may have accidentally shredded a check made out to that company. If so, oh well, but I like the money order just fine. I seem to remember thinking back then that if I paid by check they might be able to claw back into my checking account, an almost certainly false assumption. I also found a mysterious piece of letterhead with someone’s name on top, someone I don’t remember at all, but under his name, in handwriting I do not recognize, is the name of the company. It’s as if someone at the company felt it necessary to spell out the company name so I would not make mistakes in writing a check or money order. Strange, but maybe I was being intentionally obtuse and specifically requested that someone do this. If he was with the company then his would be the only employee name I ever knew from there.
Also found the missing Parc Lincoln receipts, which will help confirm one way or another exactly how long I lived there. There would be a gap in the receipts for the period where I got live rent-free, or so it felt. After some number of months they had to stop charging me the tourist tax, so I got refunded what I think amounted to three of four weeks of rent. It felt like I’d been admitted into an exclusive club.
I wish I had more evidence, though. The grocery receipts are funny for all the crap I used to eat. Hormel Chili, Vienna Sausages, Mama Celeste Frozen Pizza… I still can eat shit like that sometimes but my palette has become considerably more refined, if I may say so myself.
OK, going home to resume the tasks at hand. Signing off at the coffee shop.